is a healthier way to live
PREVIOUS: ACoAs & Blame (Part 1)
SITE: “Blame – What’s the Use?” Psychological & religious commentary
REVIEW: ABUSE / cruelty: ‘Blaming the victim’ is holding someone responsible for pain they’ have or are suffering, which they did not cause & had no way of preventing.
Resentment: “bitter indignation at having been treated unfairly”, which often goes along with blame
Adult Blamers, in the present: the mental decision (conscious or not) to accuse someone of causing our suffering (even if accurate), WITHOUT acknowledging any possible part we may have in the source of our pain (like sticking around for it)!
BLAME as a ‘social disease’ – by Carl Alasko
“Deeply embedded throughout our society is the destructive psychology of blame. We tend to view it as a necessary behavior, a way to seek justice, a synonym for accountability or responsibility. It is none of these.
In fact, blame is a four-headed beast that attacks our very spirit. We can launch these behaviors separately or fuse them into an assault that can annihilate the intended target. Emotions can & do kill. Consider those who commit suicide when battered by just one of these toxic tactics – humiliation. Indeed, blame is so unrelentingly harmful because its primary function IS to injure.
• There is also an unacknowledged psychological paradox embedded within blame that preserves its vampire-like longevity: Human beings are hard-wired to dump their uncomfortable emotions onto others. So blame helps reduce our anxieties by externalizing our fears & stresses. Naturally this does not excuse or condone it, since humans are also capable of learning how to accept & deal with our inner ‘demons’.
Notice how political candidates temporarily surges in popularity when attacking an opponent, reinforcing the ‘value’ of the tactic. Then the opponents responds in kind, & the cycle continues. This dynamic is also at the root of bullying, whether in school or on the street. The bully’s internal anxieties are relieved by debasing another person or group. Thus blame feeds the roots of every form of bigotry, sexism and racism.
The OPPOSITE of blame is ACCOUNTABILITY
This has to do with being responsible for one’s thoughts, emotions & actions (TEA).
➼ Holding ourselves or others accountable is not blame. It is acknowledging what is true, rather than covering it over or denying it altogether.
Re. ACoAs In many alcoholic & other unhealthy families, no one took responsibility for their abusive or neglectful ways, & certainly never for their thoughts & feelings. But they were quick to blame us, other people & the whole world for their own problems. So we learned to:
— make ourselves accountable for what was not our responsibility, AND
— not hold others accountable for their bad behavior, and/OR
— blame others for our troubles, the way our parents did
• It’s imperative for us as ACoAs to identify when or if someone is actually doing something harmful, neglectful, abandoning – to us or to others. If we are not sure, we can start by making a list of all the ways & times various people have hurt us or our loved ones. This can be a sincere effort to clarity what we’ve experienced, especially when it’s at the hands of someone who is taking out their damage on us. The legitimate motivation for this kind of inventory has to be the desire to identify & distinguish between:
— when we’re angry because of unrealistic expectations & assumptions, vs.
— breaking denial about staying in harmful relationships, so we can outgrow the addiction to abuse.
Using Accountability in a healthy way is either about:
US – taking responsibility for everything about ourselves without S-H or perfectionism, trying to do our best, while allowing for mistakes, & also making time for rest or fun. AND it’s also about:
OTHERS – where we notice & admit what we observe about someone else – their beneficial & harmful personality traits, patterns, way of treating people and us – so that we can figure out:
• who’s safe for us to be around & who’s not
• what we can & can’t expect of someone based on their capacity
• whether we can benefit from a connection, need to stay at arm’s length or it’s best to just leave
• when to call them on treating us badly, being disrespectful, careless….
or when it’s safest / smartest to drop it
• when getting involved in their life is none of our business
• if we’re over-reacting to something that’s not abusive at all
• what suits us about them & what doesn’t……
This is all in the service of ‘seeing’ who others really are instead of who we want them to be. It’s about knowing what mistreatment is, & gather the emotional strength to stop ignoring or white-washing it, with the guts to do whatever is best for ourselves, no matter the fallout. (See posts on “Emotional abuse”)
NOTE: Since we ACoAs don’t trust our own judgement (T) or our feelings (E), it helps to realize that angry, narcissistic, abusive people regularly treat others badly as well, so it’s not personal to us, even tho we always think everything is always about us! The REALITY is that if we were to ask around – we could find someone, who also know them, willing to admit: “Yes, that person really is like that / They’ve done that to me too / Everyone knows that about him/her…..”).
HOWEVER – If someone seems normally appropriate or kind to everyone else but us,
— we may be pushing an old button in them by accidentally ‘stepping on their toes’
— they may be appropriately responding to our damage-behavior or communication
— we may be pushing them away or into a reacting (by being passive-aggressive, irresponsible, insensitive….) because that’s what we’re used to doing & getting in relationships
— they may just be having a bad day/week, OR
— we are ignoring the red flags of their dysfunction – since people tell us about themselves all the time – so maybe they’re really aren’t as healthy as we thought.
➼ ACoAs always think we need others to validate our experience, perception, opinions….To some degree we do – in terms of getting corrective mirroring. BUT we also need to keep saying “I know what I know!” The more we acknowledge what’s really going on AND take care of ourselves, the less we need to blame anyone! SITE: Animated short & Commentary re.Blame